Simon Murray, Research Analyst at Westpac, notes that Australia posted a 16k increase in employment in January 2018 which records the longest streak of job gains with a 16th consecutive positive print.
“The month’s increase was very close to the market and Westpac’s expectation for a 15k rise.”
“However, the composition of employment changes was quite stark with full-time employment down 49.8k and part-time employment up 65.9k. That comes after a strong 2017 for full-time employment growth and the annual growth rate is still an elevated 3.6%.”
“In the month, hours worked fell 1.4%. The annual rate of change moderated to +0.5% from +3.2% but the series is volatile and this month’s movements were largely due to base effects. If hours worked holds steady in February, the annual pace will lift to +2.1%.”
“Annual employment growth held steady at a brisk pace of 3.3%. Our Westpac Jobs index is still at a high level but the change in the index has moderated in recent months. Our outlook for employment growth in 2018 is positive with a forecast 2.2% annual rate an above trend pace albeit slower than 2017’s very strong performance.”
“Overall, while January’s update continues the run of positive employment numbers, key questions remain for the labour market.”
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